Tenofovir has proved to be an effective NRTI both in first-line therapy and drug regimens for those more treatment experienced. Tenofovir is also available for hepatitis B treatment.

Tenofovir is also available in a fixed-dose combination tablet called Truvada which contains 300mg tenofovir plus 200mg emtricitabine. This combination is currently the preferred NRTI backbone.

It is recommended to monitor kidney function when taking tenofovir. It is not approved for children under 18. One study has indicated it may cause bone damage and further studies are needed. There is no evidence that tenofovir is unsafe in pregnancy and it is a drug commonly used to prevent mother-to-child transmission. 

Basic info

Generic name tenofovir
Brand name Viread
Also known as GS4331
Drug class Nucleoside/Nucleotide Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors
Pediatric dosing? Available in doses suitable for children and/or young people.
Availability in Australia Available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) through S100 prescribers since
This drug may be available through clinical trials in Australia.
You may be able to import this drug from overseas for your personal use.
Formulation 300mg tablet

Taking it

Like most anti-HIV drugs, tenofovir must be taken in combination with other drugs to be completely effective. Commonly, tenofovir is combined with one other nucleoside (NRTI) drug and either a protease inhibitor or non-nucleoside, although other combinations are sometimes used. Your doctor will advise you on the right combination of drugs to suit your circumstances.


The normal adult dose is one 300mg tablet once a day.

Regardless of what you read on this website or elsewhere, you should always take your medications according to your doctor's instructions. If you're unsure, speak to your doctor or pharmacist.

With or without food

tenofovir may be taken with or without food

Side effect

All drugs can produce side effects in some people. These may be mild, moderate or severe, so you should be aware of potential side effects before starting any drug, and speak to your doctor if you experience side effects that concern you.

  • Common side effects may include nausea (upset stomach, feeling sick to the stomach), diarrhoea, vomiting, headache, dizziness, high blood pressure.
  • Less common side effects may include low blood phosphate levels, low bone mineral density, metabolic irregularities.
  • Rare side effects may include kidney damage, liver damage.
  • It's unlikely you will experience all of these side effects, and you may not experience any side effects at all. Before starting any new drug, ask your doctor about side effects you might experience and discuss strategies for dealing with side effects if they do occur. If you experience any significant side effect you should continue taking your medicine and see your doctor as soon as possible.

Interactions with other drugs

It is not recommended to take tenofovir with ddI because of the risk of side effects and treatment failure. There may be increased risk of kidney failure if taking tenofovir with other drugs known to cause kidney toxicities, including ganciclovir, foscarnet, pentamadine, amphotericin, vancomycin, interleukin-2, cidofovir or the aminoglycosides. If taking tenofovir together with any of these drugs cannot be avoided there should be weekly monitoring of kidney functioning. Tenofovir may afffect levels of lopinavir, ritonavir and atazanavir.